Frequent flyers know that dental problems or pain tends to crop up during flights. Multiple causes of these types of dental problems exist, and you can take precautions to prevent or cope with the problems.
The Common Problems
Flyers may find that they experience some of the following problems during the course of their flight.
Dental pain, which may develop slowly or appear suddenly, is a common problem on flights.
Your body maintains a pressure balance with the outside environment when you are on the ground. When your airplane takes off, however, the pressure outside your body reduces. The decrease in pressure creates a pressure difference that causes the gasses and fluids trapped in your teeth to expand. The expansion causes dental pain. You are likely to experience this pain if you fly with a dental problem.
A pressure imbalance may also cause sinus pain. The maxillary sinuses are nasal cavities located on the cheekbones. A pressure imbalance between your body and the outside environment may inflame and bleed the mucus lining of the sinus, which may trigger a sharp pain in the sinuses.
In some cases, the sinus pain radiates throughout the face and you may feel pain throughout your jawbones and teeth. The pain may also present itself as a headache.
Dental Restoration Problems
The gases and fluids under your restorations may expand due to the pressure imbalance and dislodge the restorations. For example, your dentures may not fit as well as they usually do if you are on a long flight. In some cases, your dental fillings may also experience micro-fractures.
Dry Mouth Syndrome
The passenger cabin is dryer than what you are used to, and this decreased humidity will affect your body in various ways. For example, the dry environment may dry out your mouth. Your risk of bad breath and other dental problems increase when your mouth remains dry for a long time.
The Preventive Measures
You don't have to resign yourself to dental problems every time you board a plane. The following are some measures to reduce your risk of dental problems when you fly.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Since most dental problems worsen when you fly, maintain good oral hygiene in your daily life to reduce your risk of dental problems while on a plane. For example, good oral hygiene may help you avoid oral inflammations or even the need for restorations that may develop problems on a flight.
Get a Dental Checkup Before You Fly
Even minor dental problems that haven't produced symptoms yet may flare up into serious issues when you fly. Therefore, go for a dental checkup to help you rule out the existence of problems before you fly.
You should particularly consider this checkup if you haven't been to the dentist for a while and you plan a long flight.
Treat Dental Problems Before You Fly
Treat any existing dental problems before you fly. For example, if your dental restorations and prosthetics don't fit well, get your dentist to fix them or even re-cement the treatments if necessary.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Carry sugarless gum with you when you fly, and chew it regularly during your flight.
When you chew sugarless gum (or suck on candy), the action will relieve the pressure buildup in your mouth and relieve the associated symptoms. Your salivary glands will also ramp up saliva production when you chew sugarless gums, and this will prevent dry mouth syndrome.
At Eastland & Professional Dental Center, we can help you avoid dental problems whenever you fly. Contact us for help if you suspect that you have a dental problem.